more i love

 
 
  ©  elena ray

© elena ray

 

I love pinecones. I love walking in the woods when the leaves are bright and it’s chilly enough for me to wear my favorite fake furry vest that looks like a sheepskin rug. I love that I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. the other night writing a song to the Buddhist goddess Tara, whom I adore.

I love that I had dinner at a retreat center near my house recently and this 94-year-old woman named Natelle sat next to me and we pretty much fell in love. I love that her name is Natelle because it’s a lot like Nutella—the chocolate hazelnut stuff—which is delicious. I love that before we started talking about our lives, she asked for my autograph because she said I seemed nice. I love that someone would even think to get a person’s autograph because she looks nice. Who does that? I love that I scribbled my name on a little piece of paper and when I handed it to her I looked in her eyes and saw all of this wisdom, tenderness, and heartbreak behind her ocean-hued irises. I love that I saw myself.

I love that when I was in the recording studio last week I felt so sad in the middle of singing for no known reason. I love that I told the engineer I needed to pause, then crouched down on the carpet in the little sound booth and bawled my eyes out. I love that, as I sat there with tears pouring down my face, I could hear my voice coming through the headphones singing, “Let love in, darling. Let love in.” If that’s not perfection, what is?

I love that the other night I went to sleep with a heavy heart, feeling like I was all alone in the galaxy, and then in the morning I got a phone call from some random international number. I was sure it was a telemarketing thing so I didn’t answer, but it turned out to be my dear friend Amar calling from India. I love that Amar never calls me, not even when he’s in the States, but for some reason he felt inspired to dial my number while looking out at the Arabian Sea. I love that he left a message that basically said, “I heard a great satsang (spiritual talk) a few days ago and the swami said that we should love ourselves, so I’m calling to pass on the message: Love yourself.” I love that as soon as I heard his words my eyes filled with tears because I knew that, even though I felt alone the night before, in actuality I wasn’t—some compassionate presence was there, holding me.

I love that I played at a music festival in California last month and it stretched me in some crazy uncomfortable ways. I love that I was asked to sing for a hula-hoop yoga class and ended up making an idiot of myself in front of 100 yogis. Basically, I got so anxious and freaked out about the whole thing that I forgot the chords to one of my songs in the middle of playing and everyone looked at me like I was a total freak who f*%ked up the flow, which I did. Honestly, it was one of the most mortifying experiences of my life. I love how much I wanted to run and hide, but I was in the middle of the desert and there was literally nowhere to go, not even a bush or a tree to hide under.

I love how that experience of humiliation was like an earthquake deep in my being that brought all of these old feelings of shame, unworthiness, and insecurity to the surface. I love that I had no choice but to burn through the pain, so I went back to the place where I was staying, lay down on the chaise outside, and looked up at the vast desert sky. I love that as I rested there with my heart beating so hard and fast, I remembered that Mother Teresa once said the only way to learn humility is to be humiliated.

I love that my experience at the festival made me realize how hard I try to avoid being humiliated on a daily basis. Can you relate? I imagine so. Most of us do all sorts of weird stuff to save face because we don’t want people to judge us or look down on us. I love how absurd that is because we all screw up once in a while.

I love how everything I’m doing these days requires immense courage because my nature is quite shy, but my music and writing demand that I breathe through my conditioning and keep showing up, even if that means looking like a fool. I love that even when I think all of my courage is gone, more appears. I love that being authentic and vulnerable and brave means taking lots of risks and making mistakes. There’s no other way to learn, you know?

I love the word luminous. I love old things like record players, typewriters, and cast iron skillets. I love that I recently heard a dharma talk and the teacher said, “There has to be some friction in existence otherwise it doesn’t ignite.” That meant a lot to me because I’ve been going through a pretty hard time. Things have been intense, internally and externally. I get the sense that a lot of people are feeling this kind of friction right now, at least the people I know. Some of my friends are going through painful divorces and break-ups, some just lost their jobs, and others have health challenges. I suppose it’s nothing out of the ordinary as far as samsara is concerned, but do you feel like things are speeding up and pushing you into uncomfortable places more than usual right now? I do. Maybe it’s something in the stars. Maybe it’s some kind of evolutionary impulse that is squeezing us into a new consciousness. Or maybe we’re just being asked to let go of the things that hold us back so we can live truer, freer, more heartfelt lives.

I love the way people care for each other. I love that everyone has unique gifts to offer the world—everyone. I love that some people are really good candle makers, some are excellent at operating heavy machinery, and others are gifted at embroidery, trading, or thangka painting. I love how it’s possible to make something out of nothing, and nothing out of something. I love how emptiness and fullness are basically the same.

I love that in the depths of the sea there are bioluminescent beings that light up from inside like aquatic fireflies. I love that octopuses have three hearts and eight arms with suction cups. Who comes up with these things? I love altars and things that people make sacred through their intention and devotion. I love this little stone chapel that sits in a meadow just down the road from me. I go in there every now and then, sit in the wooden pews, and play the piano when no one’s around. I love that I don’t really know how to play the piano, but I know enough that I can sing and that’s all that matters.

I love that I read this amazing interview with John Lennon in an old Rolling Stone last week and he talked about how hard it is to be an artist sometimes. I love that, as I read his words, this huge yes exploded within me because I understood what he meant. Being an artist is a beautiful path, but sometimes it can be lonely, too. I don’t think that’s necessarily “bad,” though. Why is the word ‘loneliness’ like some kind of off-limits profanity in our culture? Most people don’t want to admit that they feel lonely. And society is set up in such a way that we don’t have to feel our loneliness—we can just distract ourselves all day and night. Maybe that’s helpful on occasion, but I think befriending loneliness can be beneficial every now and then. Hafiz articulated it perfectly when he said, “Let your loneliness cut more deeply.” He knew that every single thing we experience can be a gateway to greater love if we only open to it.

I love mystics.

I love that yesterday my friend asked me to review her online dating profile and I got completely sucked into the whole thing and ended up spending a few hours reading about random dudes and their ideal first dates. It was pretty interesting, actually. I love that I have no desire to get involved in online dating. My heart is basically splattered across cyberspace in this blog anyway, so there’s no need to spell it out in charming answers on a dating site. Besides, I would feel silly crafting an image to attract a partner, knowing full well that I might not always be able to live up to it.

I love how my beloved friend in Australia just wrote and told me about the time he was sitting in an airport reading the book Anam Cara by John O’Donohue and his heart opened so wide that he wept like a child right there in the terminal. He said it was a huge moment for him because most of his life he resisted and repressed his emotions. I love how a heart that’s broken open is the most tender, soft, irresistible thing in the entire universe.

I love that I was in a bookstore the other day and this card caught my eye. It was a collage/painting of a sweet little bird with some flowers and it said, “She could hardly believe all that was waiting when she finally opened her heart.” I’m not sure why, but it went right into me and I thought, “I should give this to someone—it’s such a beautiful message.” And as I stood there on the creaky hardwood floor looking down at the image, I suddenly realized that I should give it to myself. So I did something I had never done before and bought myself a card. It felt monumental and special in every way. When I got home later that night I sat on my bed, looked at it, and wept because the words resonated so deeply.

I love how I keep talking about crying in this blog entry because it seems to be a frequent occurrence for me these days. What can I say? I love that tears taste like the ocean.

I love synchronicity. I love that I just opened a book on my shelf by Robert Adams and this is what I read: Always remember deep in your heart that all is well and everything is unfolding as it should. There are no mistakes anywhere, at any time. What appears to be wrong is simply your own false imagination. That’s all. I love that those words are exactly what I need to hear in this very moment.

Sweet blog reader, I love that you just read this. Thank you.